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Chemistry Class of 1960 Scholars Colloquium, Professor Jesse Kroll, MIT

Fri, April 26th, 2019
1:10 pm
- 2:30 pm

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“Tracking Atmospheric Organic Carbon in the Field and in the Lab”

Organic species in the Earth’s atmosphere play a central role in many processes important to human health, ecosystem health, and global climate: they can have impacts on human and ecosystem health, they influence atmospheric oxidant levels, and their oxidation products include secondary pollutants such as ozone and secondary organic aerosol. However our ability to predict these effects is limited by the wide range in chemical structures, properties, and reactivity of atmospheric organic species. In particular, all organic species are subject to oxidation, which dramatically increases the chemical complexity of the system. This talk will describe two studies aimed at better characterizing complex mixtures of atmospheric organic compounds: a field study to measure organic species in the ambient environment, and a laboratory study for examining the evolution of organic carbon upon oxidation. In both cases, organic compounds are measured using a suite of state-of-the-art mass spectrometric instruments, providing information about not only total carbon mass but also key properties that can be used to inform models (such as oxidation state and volatility). Major results to be discussed will include the “completeness” of the instrument suite, the formation and evolution of particulate matter, and the changes to key chemical properties of the organic species upon multigenerational oxidation.

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